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Full text of "NightRider"

430

wick. It took, flaringly; then he put the chimney on, and
turned down the wick until only a little worm of flame clung
uncertainly to the exposed edge.

He returned to the bed, and sat upon it, watching her.

"Don't you want to sit down?" he asked.

She sat in the single chair, a cane-bottom chair, which
stood against the wall opposite the bed. Under the dark
skirt of her dress, he could see her bare feet set side by side,
straight, on the floor. He noticed, detachedly, how high and
strongly curved the arches were.

She sat very erect in the chair, with her hands folded in
her lap.

" You can see me now," he said.

" Yes," she replied, looking at him. Then: " I had to come
in here, now, to talk to you. Doctor MacDonald didn't send
me, like I said,"

" He didn't," Mr. Munn said, not so much in question as in
echo.

" No, I asked him where you were, and he told me. I
wanted to talk to you. I had something to say to you. But
when you first came in tonight, and I saw you come through
that door, I felt I couldn't say it. I felt I didn't know you.
You didn't look the way I remembered."

Mr. Munn raised his hand, and meditatively fingered his
beard. "I reckon not," he remarked. "Not with all this
beard."

"It wasn't that," she told him. "It was you. I felt I
couldn't tell you what I'd come to say. I'd have gone back
right away, tonight, if there'd been a way. Then lying in
there, in bed, I couldn't sleep. That child was lying there
asleep by me, and every breath she drew, I thought how
long it had been since I slept like that." She stopped, and
her gaze withdrew from him and fixed upon the small,
crawling flame on the lampwick.

He sat with his elbows on his spread knees, his forearms
hanging loose between them, and waited.

As though by an effort, she resumed, still watching the